(Image Credit: http://www.Amazonprime.com)
One of the greatest champions the world of tennis has ever seen, Pete Sampras always wore a look that was a cross between a hangdog expression and a befuddled contemplation of existence within the geometrical confines of a tennis court. Siddhant Chaturvedi, in “Gehraiyan”, the most recent fare on OTT, manages to spend over 2 excruciating hours with a forbidding poker face. But the most singular difference between ‘Pistol Pete’ and Chaturvedi being, not a single soul (other than a hapless opponent perhaps), bothered to have the occasional sneak peek at a wristwatch when Sampras was weaving his magic.
Infused with expletives, garnished with a non-existent plot, and served to appetites unable to take on a morsel more, ‘Gehraiyan‘, an Amazon original movie, is a singularly unimaginative dampener that is devoid of style as well as substance. Logic takes a back seat these days when it comes to OTT releases. Expletives assume almost totemic significance as one movie after another engages in a brutal race to the bottom. Fuck the OTT that does not use the word “fuck” every 45 seconds in a bone jarring and nerve racking fashion.
Gehraiyan is no exception to the disgusting and deplorable norm. The only alluring aspect of the movie is the occasional depiction of the crashing ocean waves which supposedly symbolize a turbulent and dysfunctional relationship between a couple who dangerously derail their existing relationships. In a nutshell the movie is about 4 young lives mired in chaos, confusion and confoundment. Alisha (Deepika Padukone), Tia (Ananya Panday) and Karan (Dhairya Karwa) are childhood friends. Zain (Siddhant Chaturvedi), Tia’s steady boyfriend, is a businessman who spends an inordinate time on a sleek yacht. This vehicle is the only object that remains steady throughout the movie and, unfortunately for the viewer since it is an inanimate conveyance it does not get its deserved screen time.
Alisha is a Yoga practioner who has had a torrid childhood at the core of which is her father, ambivalent in his actions and meek in demeanour. Karan and Alisha are in a six year relationship. Karan, an adman-turned-writer is fastidiously working on a novel. This novel suffers from a strange anomaly. When there is a publisher ready to publish it, the author suffers from an inability to conclude the book, and when the book is finally concluded, there are no publishers left to take it on. Meanwhile Alisha is left to pay the bill and carry the can, along with the trash in the house – literally.
This already testy harmony is dealt a further blow with the arrival of Zain. A bad back not only leads Zain to Alisha’s Yoga studio, but also opens a pathway straight to her heart. Steamy calisthenics on the cot, in the bathtub and everywhere in between later, both Alisha and Zain realise that they are treading a dangerous path. Congratulations! Welcome to the world of realisation.
As if infidelity was not enough, the Enforcement Directorate also makes an invisible but ominous entry. Some of the businesspeople whom our ‘yachtsman’ terms bedfellows (no pun intended and no disrespect to Alisha or Tia), are alleged to be involved in underhand activities and are arrested. Zain is under clear and present danger of monotonously counting the prison bars for a very long time. Zain’s colleague, Jitesh (Rajat Kapoor, the only character who has ‘acted’ in the movie with the exception of Deepika, who admirably holds her own and shores up an otherwise meaningless fare), attempts to bail him out, but this act comes with its own consequences.
If what has been written above reads like a complicated interpretation of James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ or David Foster Wallace’s ‘Infinite Jest’, the actual viewing of the movie is akin to reading ‘War and Peace’ upside down. By the way, the casting says Naseeruddin Shah was also essaying a role. Did he?
Dysfunctional families, deceitful love, and deceptive business practices have all been addressed in innovative and paradigm altering ways in many movies. Gehraiyan, in stark contrast attempts to do none of this. In fact, it is clueless on what it aims to convey. But for Rajat Kapoor and Deepika Padukone (who to her credit gets deep into the skin of the helpless, vulnerable yet determined Alisha), Gehraiyan would have set the record for the movie watched for the least number of minutes by subscribers to OTT Platforms.
Fuck if I know!